*For the safety of the subjects in this article, full names will not be used.*
It has been a longstanding tradition in the New Paltz do-it-yourself (DIY) community that artists support other artists. Students wear each other’s homemade jewelry, adorn themselves with each other’s clothes and hum the tunes of each other’s songs while walking from class to class. Some students have even turned their houses into concert venues where their fellow free-minded peers can come enjoy local music and shop for local artisanal goods.
One of the more well-known participating houses within the New Paltz scene over the past few years was called “Radio Shack.” The tenants that maintained its brand decided to move out this past summer, and its new inhabitants decided to keep it a venue due to its popularity and their own love for local music. They have since renamed the house “The Chum Bucket.”
Eager to test out their hosting abilities, they posted the poster for their first show on Sept. 7 via their instagram, @the.chum.bucket_np. The black and white graphic read, “Live Music at the Chum Bucket. Sir Echo, Rain Jacket and Overturn. Friday, September 29th. 7:00. 5$ at the door. (formerly known as Radioshack) for address ask a punk.”
Almost immediately, the comment section on the post was flooded with angry remarks and the direct-message inbox was teeming with personal attacks on Chum Bucket tenants due to alleged s**ual a**ault allegations made against a member of one of the bands on the lineup. The original post was deleted the next day on Sept. 8.
The allegations are based on a group of screenshots that claim to prove the validity of social media’s outrage. They are being circulated throughout the scene via a friend of one of the alleged victims.
“I’m not a dangerous dude,” says Nik, member of the accused band. “I’m not somebody that’s a threat, not somebody that’s going to overstep anyones boundaries. I wouldn’t even hit anybody in a pit. I think I got really mad because those screenshots were from years ago and they were taken out of context.”
Regardless of Nik’s response to these claims, Aselin — tenant at the Chum Bucket and contact point between the venue and the bands — had to respond and act accordingly to the allegations.
“If all of New Paltz doesn’t want Overturn here, I’m not going to take away a safe space from people who want the scene to continue,” says Aselin. “It was just so difficult trying to navigate trying to figure out what to say. At first, I wanted to support my other friends in the band but in the end I really just wanted to do what’s right for the house.”
Opening up your house to the public requires a lot of trust for both the occupants of the house and the attendees of scene-events. You have to trust that those you let into your home have good intentions, and trust that the people who are hosting the event have thought about your safety in case of an emergency.
“I made a blanket statement on the Instagram story,” says Aselin, high-school peer of the accused bandmate. “It just said ‘Overturn will not be playing shows at the Chum Bucket; we want this to remain a safe space for everyone. Please feel free to reach out with any questions.’ And I’m still getting messages calling me a r**e apologist from random people. I struggled with that a lot.”
The Chum Bucket is not the only venue to receive backlash from having the accused band on the lineup. Kylie, who has circulated the screenshots, has done everything in her power to make other local DIY venues and bars aware of the allegations.
“I always DM people saying ‘hey, just so you know, this is who you are working with, I’m sure your morals don’t align with this’” says Kylie. “Some of the venues I’ve called out on instagram have dropped Overturn and banned them from the roster. It’s becoming more well known who they are. I just don’t want him to have any sort of a platform. I don’t want people to go see him and think he’s like a good guy, especially in a tight-knit punkish community where people are supposed to be protecting each other.”
The reason that house show venues have curated some of the most special memories for past New Paltz students is because it is a place that is filled entirely with people they know. These are supposed to be safe places — homes of friends — where students can go and enjoy music. These allegations upset the balance of the scene and sent social media into a protective frenzy.
“The former tenants of Radio Shack believe that there is no room for abusive and violent behavior in DIY spaces,” said Noelle, one of Radio Shack’s founders. “This has never been something we have tolerated or accepted as show hosts. The purpose of DIY spaces are to provide a safe space for music and to allow show goers to express themselves freely somewhere they know they can feel accepted and safe around like-minded individuals.”
The Radio Shack has also iterated that they are not associated with the current members of their old house. They claimed that they worked really hard to make their house a safe space for people, and that they were disappointed to learn that it seems like new tenants do not share the same values.
Aselin, who is currently working with their housemates on rewriting the house policies for future shows, hopes that the Chum Bucket will be able to put out a new lineup sometime in October. They have made it clear that Overturn is not welcome to play at, or attend, any of their upcoming shows.